The big news yesterday around Washington D.C was the firing of Jim Zorn, followed just a few hours later with the news that Mike Shanahan had been flown to DC on Dan Snyder's private plane presumably to be the next head coach.  This was not any surprise to anyone in D.C, as the writing has been on the wall for practically the whole season.  But this situation speaks to a bigger story. The life of a head professional sports coach is not something I'd wish upon anyone.

Can you imagine getting fired, then a few hours later seeing your replacement get flown in by private jet while fans around the city rejoice? That would just plain suck watching as fans of your former team celebrate your demise, and worse seeing how happy they are with your replacement.  Not to mention your name is plastered over TV,radio, and the message boards with sports fans who think they could coach better than you.

Most people's jobs are based on the bottom line, but none more than professional sports coaches. One week your job is completely secure and the next you have one foot out the door.  But wait, these coaches get paid so much money, they deserve what they get if they don't succeed, right? Yes, in a way that's true, but it's not like these guys are making hundreds of millions of dollars like the players are. Plus, if you fail one place it can be tough to find another job.  Not to mention the fact that you routinely work eighteen hour days 9 months out of the year.
Sure, players have it tough too, but they have more control over the outcome.  As a coach, your job is to put your players in the best position to win, but after that it is literally out of your hands.  Sure, Zorn was unqualified to coach, but would you turn down the chance get paid 10 times more and have 100 times more power? Probably not, but maybe he wishes he had now. Was it his fault that he had his 3rd string offensive linemen and running backs playing half the season? No, but since he is the coach the blame is on him.

Let's look at Doc Rivers of the Celtics.  It's hard for me to believe that he became a great coach overnight. No, he finally got some great players around him and as a result won a title.  Just look at all the coaches that have retired and are now doing cushy radio and TV jobs.  Sure, they miss the competitiveness, but I'm sure their overall quality of life is higher.  As a coach, you sacrifice everything in your life to win. If you don't, you lose games and usually your job.   It's really as simple as that.  Next time you're hating on a coach, try to step back and be thankful that you aren't in their shoes.

Karl Dillinger 1/05/2010 12:48:00 PM Edit
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